Water heaters are perhaps one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated appliances in a home, especially in a place like Richardson, TX, where the weather is mild year-round. Yet, a home’s water heater is a serious workhorse, enabling everyone in the home to take warm showers and your washing machine and dishwasher to run.
If something goes wrong and you find yourself needing water heater repair, it can be an inconvenient and quite costly repair. As a plumbing and drain company in Richardson, TX, we unfortunately see this frequently, and the truth is that oftentimes these issues could have been prevented. The good news is that a little routine preventive maintenance can go a long way in preserving the life of your home’s water heater and helping it run optimally.
Follow these simple care and maintenance tips to avoid a costly water heater repair.
Make Sure Pipes are Well-Insulated
Whether your home has a tankless or traditional water heater, you do not want heat to be able to escape easily. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to insulate the pipes. Improperly insulated hot water pipes can reduce the temperature of your water by as much as four degrees, causing your hot water heater to work significantly harder and using more of your home’s gas or electricity in the process. This is like literally washing money right down the drain, plus you’re guaranteed to need water heater repair far sooner.
While many popular brands of water heaters sell covers specifically for this purpose, you can also purchase foam pipe sleeves in a wide range of sizes, or even universally-sized strips of fiberglass insulation. A small cost investment, a bit of elbow grease, and a couple hours of your time can significantly prolong the life of your hot water heater, plus save you money on your monthly utility bills. bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas also offers this service professionally and is happy to assess your water heater to determine what the best course of action is.
Adjust Your Hot Water Heater’s Temperature
Most hot water heaters are set at a standard temperature of 140 degrees. However, lowering that temperature to 120 degrees can significantly lengthen the life of your hot water heater and lower your family’s monthly energy bills as well. Higher temperatures also lead to more sediment buildup inside the water heater tank. If you don’t want to lower the temperature of your water heater by that quite much, even an adjustment of a few degrees can help to slow down the effects of wear and tear and push the need for water heater repair well into the future.
Check the Anode Rod to Avoid Water Heater Repair
The average homeowner in Richardson, TX, is likely not familiar with the anode rod, but it’s a critical component to your hot water heater. The small rod sits in the center of a hot water heater and attracts corrosive elements in the water, enabling it to corrode long before the interior of the hot water heater itself ever does. If the water heater tank’s lining begins to rust or corrode, the entire heater needs to be replaced entirely – it is generally well past the point of needing simple water heater repair.
Checking the anode rod annually at the very least will allow you to monitor your water heater and know when it is time to be serviced or repaired. To check the anode rod, follow these steps:
- Shut off the hot water heater
- Connect a hose and drain a few gallons of water
- Unscrew the top of the anode rod with a socket wrench and pull it out
If the anode rod appears to have any wear or corrosion, particularly rust, it needs to be replaced. This is the perfect time to call in a professional water heater repair company in Richardson, TX, such as bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas. A professional can assess the overall health of your water heater and recommend any necessary service or repairs in addition to replacing the anode rod.
Drain the Water Heater Tank
Water tanks may collect sediment and need to be emptied from time to time. The frequency and necessity of this can vary greatly depending on your local water supply. One way you’ll know if your hot water heater tank needs to be drained is if it makes sounds while it’s running that sound like pops or bangs. If you’re not positive or are trying to decide if you might instead need water heater repair, use the tips in the section above to drain just a few gallons and check for sediment in the water.
If you determine that you indeed need to drain the hot water heater tank completely, drain a few gallons at a time and each time, open the cold water valve to stir up the sediment at the bottom and let some of it out. Repeat in cycles until the water that comes out is clear, then close the valve and refill the water tank before turning the hot water heater back on.
Call in the Professionals
While routine preventive care at home is an excellent way to preserve your hot water heater and help it run efficiently, there is no substitute for a professional water heater repair company checking it out annually. Trained professionals know what to look and listen for and can spot small issues before they become big problems. This can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in emergency water heater repair costs later on, not to mention save you valuable time.
For your next annual water heater assessment and all your other plumbing needs, contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas.